PSA accepts SARS offer to end strike

The Public Servants Association announced on Monday afternoon that it had reached an agreement with the South African Revenue Service to end its strike at the tax authority.

The second union on strike at the agency, Nehawu, has not yet said whether it will end the strike. In a WhatsApp to Fin24 on Monday afternoon the union's spokesperson Khaya Xaba said it would be able to provide an update on Tuesday. 

According to a statement released on Monday afternoon by the PSA, the revenue collection agency agreed to an 8% salary increase from April and a projected increase of CPI plus 2% in the following two years. 

PSA General Manager Ivan Fredericks said the multi-term agreement included an increase in the long-service award amount, and the introduction of eight days’ day prenatal and vaccination leave.

"SARS can under current circumstances ill-afford to be operating under capacity, as the country struggles to collect revenue, while [teetering] on the brink of possible credit-rate cuts. The PSA is pleased that SARS, by reaching this agreement, acknowledges the importance of the work being rendered by its employees," said Mr Fredericks.

The PSA and Nehawu, which jointly represent about 9 000 workers, went on strike on Thursday in a walkout that affected services at SARS offices, border posts and harbours across the country.

On Monday SARS said in an update that its branches were again open, with the exception of its main Cape Town branch, which it expects to open "shortly".

Members of both unions voted on the agency's latest offer on Monday, following meetings on Friday and Sunday.   

The unions were demanding salary increases of 11.4% and recognition of improved qualifications in the form of 1% salary increase and a 10% bonus.

Progress

In a joint statement on Sunday, the three parties said they had "made substantial progress in narrowing their areas of dispute and there is a possibility of reaching an agreement and settling the dispute".

Nehawu deputy secretary general December Mavuso told Fin24 on Monday that the union was consulting with its members at SARS around the country on whether to accept the latest offer.

"We are finalising our process and will know by 14:00. We are consulting with provinces for a mandate. We will know the outcome this afternoon, after which, we will inform the employer of whether we accept or reject the offer," said Mavusa.

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